Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year, but for homeowners, it’s also one of the busiest. From raking leaves to prepping your home, gutters and all, for the blustery winter to come, fall lawn care is a must. While it may not be your desired weekend activity, it also doesn’t have to be that much of a chore. From revitalizing your lawn to making leaves vanish, our clever tips will help you check off everything on your seasonal outdoor to-do list.
Eradicate weeds with a DIY potion
Whacking weeds now prevents them from popping up in the spring, but there’s no need to resort to harmful chemicals, promises Shawna Coronado, author of 101 Organic Gardening Hacks ($11.68, Amazon). “Just fill a spray bottle with three parts white vinegar to one part castile soap,” she says. “The vinegar kills weeds on contact while the soap helps the solution sink down into the roots, ensuring the weeds won’t grow back.”
Green up grass with a beer ‘garden’
The surprising fertilizer in your fridge? Beer! It’s packed with lawn-fortifying nutrients. Just pour 1 can of dark beer, 1⁄2 cup of dish soap, 1 cup of cola (non-diet), 1⁄2 cup of dark molasses and 1⁄2 cup of mouthwash into a lawn sprayer, attach to your hose and spray on your lawn, advises Erik Olsen of SouthernLawnMan.com. “This delivers good bacteria that green up your grass.”
Protect flower bulbs with chicken wire
Fall’s the time to plant bulbs for spring blooms. To keep them safe from squirrels, cut 4″ squares of chicken wire, cover each bulb with soil and top it with a square. The wire’s holes allow the plants to grow, but are small enough to stop critters.
Clear clogged gutters with a blast of air
The safe, simple way to whisk away leaves from your gutters: Use a gutter-cleaning blower attachment, which is a J-shaped pipe that attaches to your leaf blower, says Michael R. Cook of AJGutterService.com. “Aim the curved end over your gutter, then turn on your leaf blower,” he says. “The gust of air will dislodge debris in seconds.” ($18, Amazon)
Bye-bye, back-breaking rake! Just mow over leaves to create mulch, advises Daniel Ray of LawnStarter.com. And if your “carpet” of leaves is too thick to mow? “Spread a tablecloth on the ground, then use a blower to pile leaves onto it. Curl up the edges of the tablecloth like a funnel and dump the contents into a bag!”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.